Trouble Opening Up To Others? Tips On How To Express Your Feelings
In our lives, there comes a time when we are at a loss for words and that’s OK but there are times when we just can’t seem to open up our hearts and put down the walls we’ve built there, enough to express our feelings and what’s in our hearts.
Maybe your heart begins to beat out of rhythm as you sit there with your loved one or your therapist and try to express your feelings and figure out what to say. Maybe you want to open up but there’s a little voice in your head that opposes it.
Or maybe, you just don’t how you feel.
Expressing your feelings is a complex process and for many adults, like you and me, it can put us in an uncomfortable position. Remember, not all people are comfortable with sharing their feelings openly.
Nonetheless, if you feel stuck on how to express your feelings or show emotions then you are not the only one. There might be some reasons why you feel it challenging to open up to others and understanding those reasons is the first step.
Let’s take a look at some of those reasons and how to express your feelings.
Why Can’t You Open Up To Others?
Some things and experiences are easier to convey and express while others are not so pleasant and can bring forth a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Those feelings may stop you from opening up to others. Here are some reasons why you can’t open up to others easily:
1. Painful Experiences
Some experiences and memories are just too raw and painful that they can make you feel uncomfortable sharing them with others. So when you want to express your feelings but the story you want to share brings up raw emotions, it’s likely that you’ll hold yourself from sharing those experiences. Some traumatic experiences can also cause an onslaught of unpleasant feelings that are hard to label, describe, and share.
2. Attachment Issues
The lack of healthy and secure attachments can make it harder for people to trust and connect with others. This lack of healthy and secure attachments can be due to traumatic childhood experiences. Attachment issues can also be a reason that may prevent you from opening up and expressing emotions without fearing rejection.
3. Social Stigma
In many cultures, talking about certain topics is considered taboo and in many regions around the world, being your true self is almost impossible. The reason? Social stigmas. Concepts such as toxic masculinity prevent people from expressing their feelings.
In some cultures, talking about raw emotions such as grief, sexual trauma, divorce, etc is also discouraged as they are not considered socially acceptable. This reason can also make it difficult for you to express your feelings openly.
There are different kinds of people in the world. Some find it way easier to make friends with whoever they meet while others are naturally quiet and hesitant to open up. Highly social people can easily express themselves because of their personalities. Extroverts are more social and for some extroverted people, expressing their feelings is natural, however, if you’re an introvert aka less social and more reserved, then it’s your personality that may be holding you back from expressing your feelings.
How To Express Your Feelings?
In a study, it was found that opening up about your emotions and feelings can be good for your well-being. When you express your feelings, negative and positive, it brings a sense of relief and also helps with emotional regulation.
If you find it difficult to open up to others, here are some tips to help you:
1. Breathe Deeply
If you have trouble opening up to others, then pause, and take a deep breath. Deep breathing can not only help you calm your nerves but can also help with supporting memories, improve brain function, help you learn, and even de-stress. When you don’t know what to say, take a deep breath and ground yourself. Connect with your emotions and understand what you’re feeling.
2. Keep Trying
Expressing feelings is a skill and similar to other skills, practice is a must. For instance, you may find expressing your feelings in a therapeutic setting a little awkward and uncomfortable in the first session but once you keep practicing and keep conversing, it’ll be more comfortable as time goes on.
You can keep trying to have heartfelt conversations with your trusted ones as well. Even with yourself (self-talk also counts!)
3. Embrace Your Emotions
One of the biggest aspects of expressing your feelings is to embrace your emotions. When you don’t know what you’re feeling, how will you express them? Some emotions are too complex and unpleasant so take some time to self-reflect and name those emotions.
Ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” and put a name to that emotion. Focus on the physical sensations as well. Sometimes, the physical sensations can help name the emotion better.
4. Identify The Right Listener
Anyone can hear you express your feelings but there are very few who will listen. Finding the right listener matters. The right listener or an active listener can help validate your feelings, process your emotions better, and is understanding.
For example, if you’re feeling depressed then you may want to avoid the cousin who doesn’t understand the extent of your emotions and rather find a therapist who will be empathetic, understanding, and help with processing the emotions.
Similar to the right listener, the right time also matters. Make sure you talk to your listener when they are in the right mindset and are not distracted or in a bad mood.
You Can Help Others Express Emotions By…
- Agree to listen to them patiently
- Stating your intentions properly
- Making sure you are in the right mindset for the conversation
- Being accountable for your part in their feelings
- Having an open communication
- Avoiding justifying your actions
- Remaining patient
- Thanking them for sharing and expressing their feelings
When you are a good listener, your loved one will feel more comfortable expressing feelings and opening up to you whenever needed. It will also help them feel less anxious and hesitant around you. This practice of active listening can also help you and your loved one build a strong connection, emotionally.
Keep in mind that it’s not easy to express your feelings to someone but with practice and patience, you can develop skills that will help you label your emotions and express feelings with the right listener.
While expressing feelings can be difficult, opening up to others and sharing your feelings can be good for your overall well-being and mindset. Keep trying!
I hope this article helped you understand how to express your feelings to someone and how you can help someone express feelings.
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